Thursday, November 6, 2008

Book of Optics (Opticae Thesaurus)

Book of Optics (Opticae Thesaurus)
Book of Optics or Kitab al-Manazir, was written by Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham in year of 1101 to 1021 while under house arrest in Cairo. Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham was regarded as the father of Modern Optics and known as Alhacen or Al-Hazen since Middle Ages. Al-Hazen was an expert and a serious researcher in philosophy, physics and mathematics. He is considered the most important researcher in optics between antiquity and the seventh century. He made a significant contribution to understanding of the visual process and systemically investigated the optical properties of air.

In the book Al-Hazen correctly explained and proved modern intromission theory of vision. He recognized for his experimentation on optics, including experiment on lenses, mirror, refraction, reflection and the dispersion of light into its constituent colors. He studied binocular vision and the Moon illusion, described the finite speed of light, and argued that it is made of particles traveling in straight lines. Due to his formulation of a modern quantitative and empirical approach to physics and science, he is considered the pioneer of the modern scientific method and the originator of the experimental nature of physics and science.

In his Kitab al-Manazir, Al-Hazen asserted that optics is a synthetic branch of inquiry that combines mathematical and physical consideration. This not only a new doctrine of vision, but also a new methodology. Al-Hazen was led to formulate problems which either would not have made sense from the stand point of the visual-ray theory or had been ignored by philosophers aiming primarily to give an account of what vision rather than an explanation of how to take place.

For reason that are not entirely clear, the Kitab al-Manazir seems to have been virtually unknown in the Islamic world until the end of the thirteenth century. Only then did the Arabic text receive the attention it deserved in the form of a critical commentary written in Arabic by the Persian Kamal al-Din al-Farisi. The Book of Optics was translated into Latin, and had much influence especially on and through Roger Bacon.
Book of Optics (Opticae Thesaurus)
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